“Feather’s Story” is the first-person account of a child’s struggle with the negativity and chaos of the modern world. The combination of a child’s story, watercolors, stunning animation, traditional dance, and original song combine to make a powerful and lasting impression. I don’t see many videos that are this well made.
Feather is a Native American girl. Her concerns are universal: the pandemic, pollution, and how to change things for the better.
Mike Mabin, founder and CEO of Agency MABU and enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, says, “This project was a magical experience for our team and NCAI.”
Mabin, who spoke with me by phone today says he was on a teleconference with tribal leaders and he heard how they wanted to draw attention to the efforts being made to Keep Indian Country Safe during COVID-19. Agency MABU contacted NCAI and learned that they were eager to promote unity and healing.
A Family Affair
Agency MABU’s creative team worked closely with Christian Weaver, Director of Development, and Lycia Maddocks, VP of External Affairs at NCAI on the development of the video. When the idea to tell the story through the voice of a child was suggested, a light went on.
Wind Spirit Spotted Bear, an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation who works as a Multimedia Developer for Agency MABU asked her daughter, Feather, to come to the agency and discuss how she was feeling.
The results are evident in the video. “Her words were not scripted,” says Mabin.
To increase the family ties, the Jingle Dancer is Jennifer Young Bear, Feather’s aunt. Plus, the original song was made by Joel Wood, a second-generation member of Northern Cree Singers and a local resident of Bismark.
Art, Beauty, and Meaning All In One
Art, beauty, and meaning…This is the holy trinity of creativity. Without these three elements in play, any company or cause will be hard-pressed to get a message through. Thankfully, all three are in copious supply here.
Mabin says, “The video is color blind and politics-free. It’s a gift from Indian Country to the world.”
It is interesting to me how much has been taken from this continent’s original peoples. Yet, they continue to give, because giving is embedded deep in their culture and in their cells.
Feather’s gift is the gift best given by a child—the gift of unfiltered truth and raw emotion.
Agency MABU Makes A Difference
Agency MABU is a 20-person shop with a clear focus on helping mission-driven corporations, Native Americans, and government agencies. The agency is based in Bismark and has a satellite office near Washington, DC.
This video was produced entirely inhouse. Ed Sargeant, Agency MABU’s Director of Animation and Video Services (who is from England as has previously worked on feature films), helped to make a finely polished finished product.
At this time, the agency is putting final touches on a “Behind the Screen” video that will provide even richer detail about the campaign. I will post it here when it is available.
[UPDATE 7/13/2020] The “making of” video is now available!